Introduction to APA

Introduction

Welcome to our introduction to the APA style guide. APA stands for the American Psychological Association, a body that provides guidelines for a number of disciplines, particularly those in the social sciences. In this guide we explain the essential APA rules for citing sources and formatting your paper. For the official (and complete) style guide, you’ll have to buy the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Common Features

APA, like MLA, uses in-text citation, by which we mean that sources are cited in the body of the text, as opposed to in footnotes or end notes. Unlike MLA, APA puts more emphasis on the date of publication. Often it is enough to cite the author’s last name and the date:

Bobbejaan (1999) argued …

… melancholy (Hrapniuk, Irate, & Wyrd, 2017).

This is sufficient if you’re referring to the general argument of the source you’re citing. On the other hand, if you’re quoting or drawing attention to a specific passage, you will also need to provide a page number:

(Smith, 2008, p. 11).

In APA style, the final bibliography is called a reference list. Again, the date of publication receives more emphasis, and is placed close to the start of each entry:

Frenetick, J. (2014). The psychology of trout tickling. LNG Press.

Clearly, APA papers value research that is current and up to date.

Conclusion

APA style can seem overwhelming, since it covers not only citation and formatting rules, but also gives advice on how to do research properly. Our focus is on the former. As you take courses in the social sciences, you will learn how to do everything from statistical analysis to conducting experiments. Don’t feel you need to know everything at once–simply consult whatever sections are relevant to you now.

APA Quick Guide

Introduction

Welcome to our quick guide for citing sources following the guidelines set out in the APA Style Guide (6th ed.). Scan the list for the type of citation you need. Then click on the link to find detailed instructions.

All Citations

Books

Book (basic format)
Print book
Print book read online
Electronic book
Edited multi-volume work
Edition with author and editor
Republished work
Translated work
Book chapter
Online reference work

Periodicals

Article (basic format)
Article in print
Article with DOI
Article without DOI
Article with more than 7 authors
Advance online publication
Publication in a preprint archive
Magazine article
Newspaper article
Monograph
Special issue or section
Article abstract

Meetings and Presentations

Symposium proceedings
Paper or poster presentation
Conference proceedings
Presentation abstract

Theses

Unpublished dissertation or thesis
Dissertation from the web
Abstract

Reviews

Book review (basic format)
Film review from a blog

Data Sets, Software, Tools

Basic format
Data set
Software

Audio-Visual Sources

Video
Podcast
TV series
Music recording
Photo

Other Online Sources

Blog post
Online video
Forum post

Archival Sources

Archival source (basic format)
Item in a repository
Multiple items from the same collection
Interview